In his dismissal by the Miami Dolphins last month, coach Brian Flores declined to sign a separation agreement presented by team owner Stephen Ross, Flores told Bryant Gumbel of HBO's "Real Sports."
"Just signing that separation agreement would have really silenced me," Flores said in an episode that aired Tuesday night.
By not signing the separation agreement, Flores left millions of dollars on the table, said John Elefterakis, one of Flores' attorneys. But not signing also granted him the freedom to talk about his treatment in Miami.
"To Coach Flores' credit, he wasn't gonna sign that, because he wanted -- it wasn't about the money," attorney Doug Wigdor told Gumbel, adding it was a two-year non-disparagement agreement contract. "If it was about the money, he would have signed it. What he did instead was he filed this lawsuit so that he could help other coaches, now ... and in the future."
Wigdor added: "If a coach is terminated with a couple years or a year left on their contract, they don't get paid unless they sign a waiver, an NDA, confidentiality and non-disparagement. So they buy their silence."
The Dolphins responded to Flores' comments Tuesday evening, calling them "categorically false."
"This latest assertion by Brian Flores that Steve Ross mentioned an NDA to him is categorically false. This just did not happen and we simply cannot understand why Brian continues this pattern of making unfounded statements that he knows are untrue," the team said. "We are fully cooperating with the NFL investigation and look forward to all of the facts coming out which we are confident will prove that his claims are false and defamatory."
Flores' attorneys disputed the Dolphins' claim and provided screenshots of what they said were the draft agreement and the payment termination notice. One of the provisions specifically detailed a non-disparagement clause.
Because Flores didn't sign the team's separation and release agreement, he was sent a payment termination notice by Brandon Shore, senior vice president of football and business administration. The memo stated that Flores would not be entitled to receive continuing payments of all non-accrued benefits and compensation because he didn't sign the agreement.
In response to the #Dolphins calling Brian Flores' assertion of an NDA "categorically false," below are screenshots from the draft agreement & payment termination notice.— WigdorLaw (@WigdorLaw) February 23, 2022
If #BrianFlores had signed this, he would have been gagged and unable to talk about his experience.#NFL pic.twitter.com/rlEgTXsd4I
With the ability to speak freely about his time with the Dolphins, Flores, who was recently hired as a defensive assistant by the Pittsburgh Steelers, filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos), alleging racial discrimination in hiring practices and his dismissal by Miami.
Among other allegations, Flores said he was offered $100,000 per loss by Ross in 2019, something he and his attorneys told Gumbel they have evidence of and would be willing to share with the NFL in its investigation of the Dolphins owner.